Kukla's Korner

Struggle In St. Louis

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Shawn P. Roarke of Fox Sports,

Things are getting very ugly very quickly in St. Louis. Fifteen games into the season, the Blues have just two wins and are mired in a club-record nine-game losing streak. They have not won since Oct. 19. Not surprisingly, St. Louis has a league-low seven points. The Blues have won just one of eight games in the Central Division and trail division-leading Detroit by a whopping 22 points. The team has been outscored by 24 goals and only Washington (70) and Pittsburgh (72) have allowed more goals than the 69 the Blues have bled already this year.

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NHL Surprises

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from Allan Muir of Sports Illustrated,

No one really knew what to expect when the new NHL hit the ice just over a month ago, but here are six story lines that have taken me by surprise: 1. The rebirth of Mike Modano 2. The first-place New York Rangers 3. Alexander Ovechkin's dominance 4. The struggles of the money goalies 5. The first-place Carolina Hurricanes 6. Who is Jason Williams?

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Watching Hockey- 101

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

Many of us know how to watch a game but this is a nice primer for fans new to the game or a nice refresher for long time fans. The column refers to the college game but could also apply to any form of hockey. from the College Hockey News,

As a former full-time hockey writer and media relations person, I was fortunate to be exposed to some excellent hockey minds over the years. Coaches, players, front office staff and scouts helped me learn how to watch the game as the pros do, and I'd like to pass along some of their tips to help you get more out of your own game-watching experience. Whether you are a novice, intermediate or advanced hockey watcher, hopefully, there's something in here that will further your knowledge and enjoyment of our game.

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Remembering The Veterans

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the AHL,

On this November 11, the American Hockey League honors the men and women who have served their country in the armed forces as we mark Veterans' Day in the United States and Remembrance Day in Canada. Teams throughout the AHL and NHL found their rosters depleted as the U.S. and Canadian militaries came calling. Many of the top players of the time -- players like Les Douglas, Moe Roberts, Norm Burns, Augie Herchenratter and Murdo MacKay -- had their playing careers interrupted or ended altogether as they served in the war.

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Kansas City Wants The Penguins

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,

Tim Leiweke, president and chief executive officer of Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) and the president of the Los Angeles Kings of the National Hockey League, made his strongest comments to date about the possibility of the Penguins being the anchor tenant for the Sprint Center, an 18,500-seat downtown arena his company will manage when it opens in the fall of 2007. "If Pittsburgh doesn't have an arena deal done a year from now, they're gone," Leiweke told the newspaper. "The Pittsburgh Penguins can be the Kansas City Penguins, no question about it. That team here ... it will sell out every ticket in advance, end of story. That team will be a huge instant home run here. And that kid, Sidney Crosby, is unbelievable."

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Semin’s Agent May Have Violated Court Order

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Washington Times,

Semin's U.S.-based agent, Mark Gandler, who has very close ties with the Russian hockey community, was ordered not to help the 21-year-old find a new team when a temporary restraining order was granted a week ago. But according to an interview with Semin in the Moscow newspaper Sports Express, Gandler is assisting the player in his effort to find a spot on another roster. The Russian league is currently on hiatus so players can compete in a tournament. "Who is working to find you a team in Russia?" the paper asked Semin. "The same agent, Mark Gandler," the paper quotes him as responding. Semin's rights in Russia have been acquired by Khimik, another Super League team, and it expects the player to report once play resumes. "I'm expecting a lot of things, too, [that] doesn't mean they are going to happen," the player said. Semin then suggested in the interview that he was prevented from returning to the United States by someone in Russia, where, he maintains, he is still serving a military obligation.

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Every Dollar Counts

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Globe and Mail,

The Toronto Maple Leafs, for example, rewarded Colaiacovo for playing his best game in their uniform by sending him back to their American Hockey League farm team the next day. They did it not to punish him, but to save a grand total of $9,544.44 (all figures U.S.) against the salary cap. What matters in the NHL is not where you stand under the cap at the start of the season, but where you are at the end of the season. Every day a player is on the active roster is a day's salary counted against the cap, which means teams that are close to the cap or run into injuries have to be extra frugal. Ditto for those such as the Leafs who will want to fix a problem -- their defence -- at the trade deadline. The $9,544.44, Leafs general manager John Ferguson said, "will be worth a lot more on that day, March 9, than it is today."

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Brodeur Ready To Play

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from North Jersey,

"Everything has to get going now," Brodeur said Thursday after practice at South Mountain Arena. "It's been a long time. The excuse about getting used to the rules, everything is out the window now. We're digging ourselves a hole and teams around us are winning. It's going to be tougher and tougher if we don't start being accountable for the way we play, the way we take penalties, the way our special teams work." Although Devils coach Larry Robinson said he would hold Brodeur out until Saturday afternoon's rematch with the Capitals at Continental Arena - and rookie Ari Ahonen was told to be ready to make his first NHL start today - Brodeur plans to play in both games of the home-and-home series after testing his knee during a strenuous practice Thursday. "I was doing everything I wanted," he said. "I made a point to make the third and fourth effort on shots just to see how everything is going to be. This was the first full practice where I had my own net and a lot of work. I was practicing a lot of things, so it was good. "I'm ready to go."

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Leafs #1 According To Forbes

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the Toronto Star,

In its Nov. 28 issue, Forbes reports that the Leafs are the most valuable team in the NHL at $325 million (all figures U.S., unless otherwise indicated), that their operating income has been $85 million over the past five years and that the 86 per cent increase in the value of the franchise over that time is tops in the league. Ozanian (Forbes writer) predicted the viability of at least two NHL franchises will become a relevant topic very soon. "The two places where I think there will not be teams in two years are Carolina and Atlanta," Ozanian said, "and I still need more convincing in Florida and Nashville."
read on update 7:40am, related story- The Business of Hockey, from Forbes,
Since the early 1990s, the National Hockey League has undergone a major transformation: rapid expansion, two nasty labor wars and teams relocating from Canada to the southern United States. Result: huge losses and falling television ratings. After canceling the 2004-05 season, the owners enter this year armed with control of player salaries, and the league's best players can more fully showcase their talents, thanks to new rules designed to remove player interference and speed up the game.

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Tkachuk Still Sore

Blog: KK Hockey By Paul

from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,

Keith Tkachuk looked happy to be on the ice Thursday, even if it was only a practice. "It's a good sign, but I've still got a ways to go," said Tkachuk, who has been out since suffering a rib injury Oct. 15 against Nashville. (An MRI taken Oct. 28 revealed Tkachuk had three nondisplaced cracked ribs.) "It's getting better each day, but it's still pretty sore. I'll do all I can out there without re-aggravating it."

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